Say, anybody heard from Mitch McConnell today? Yeah, I know, busy bar-b-queing and all that. And while Mitch is out in his backyard, Donald Trump is out in his and guess what’s on the grill? GOP elephant, that’s what’s on the grill. Trump is going to burn it to a crisp and slather ketchup on it.

Trump is well known for breaking the laws of political physics. That’s his stock in trade. And you’re going to see him do it again. You used to hear a lot of talk of a red tsunami. That ended about six weeks ago. At this point, the GOP is hoping to simply regain the House and if it’s with only a few seats, fine. They’ll take it. No more talk of 40+ seats, the price of gas being more important than democracy, none of that is being heard nowadays.

It wasn’t just the gas prices, though, it was the “presidential penalty” or “midterm penalty” that was being factored in, i.e., the law of political physics that says that the party that doesn’t have the White House is favored to retake both chambers of congress or at the very least one.

It’s been conventional wisdom for the past few weeks that the Senate would most likely stay in Democratic hands and more securely so, in fact, due to the awful senatorial candidates Trump has endorsed. It’s also been said that the House could conceivably stay in Democratic hands, although that has been considered a bit of a long shot.

Not after today. All of this political math needs to be recalculated. The simple fact of the matter is, Trump is firmly in the spotlight once again with his Special Master fiasco and there he is going to stay. The midterms are now going to be a referendum on him. CNN:

In other words, the more Trump is on people’s minds, the better Democrats are doing.
This, of course, is not what Republicans want. Although Biden has become more popular in the past month (more on that in a second), he’s still not all that popular. Presidents whose approval ratings are south of 45% tend to see their party lose a lot of seats in Congress.
Trump, though, is even more unpopular than Biden. His net favorability rating (favorable minus unfavorable) in a Wall Street Journal poll out last week was -19 points — considerably worse than Biden’s -8 points.
The net effect of Trump’s Special Master is to put Trump on the ballot. Fine. Welcome. Have a seat. Stay a spell, Donald. We can use you.
And while you might think that negative views of Biden would upstage negative views of Trump given who’s currently president, that may not be the case.
Take a recent NBC News poll. When asked whether their vote for Congress was meant to signal support for Biden or Trump, voters were split 44% to 44%. In other words, the former and current President were playing an equal role in people’s votes.
What all this means is that Democrats may not lose a lot of seats this time around. Most forecasts for the House have them keeping their losses below 20 seats. They’re favored (if slightly) to hold on to the Senate.
It’s an outcome Democrats should be happy to accept, given what normally happens in midterms.
I wouldn’t even be looking so closely at “below 20 seats.” I’ll go on record now saying that I think it could be below ten or even below five. (If we get wiped out, I’ll buy the cream pies and you all can throw them at me, okay?)
Let’s assume that the best case scenario happens and the House is regained by the GOP but with the slenderest of margins, 3-5. Or even 6-7. They’re not going to be able to get an awful lot done and if the Senate is firmly in Democratic hands, what then?
Or, maybe the truly unthinkable will happen and Trump, once again, will smash a law of political physics. Maybe he will so $hit the bed between now and November that the House AND the Senate remain in Democratic hands.
Nothing is ever certain in politics and if Trump is on the ballot? Fuggedaboutit. And Trump is on the ballot, despite the RNC’s best efforts to keep him off of it.
Maybe he’ll even announce his candidacy soon, ya spose? Might as well, right?
Stay tuned.
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  1. The RNC made a deal with Trump to pay his legal bills in return for him holding off on announcing for 2025. If I’m not mistaken they recently have partially cut him off. I think over his fighting the search at Marmalade-a-go. If he’s suddenly having to cut retainer checks to lawyers (and he does now have one legitimate one that’s formidable – who I’m sure wouldn’t have lifted a finger without some serious upfront money) then just how pissy will Trump get? The more the RNC and McConnell, the sane establishment types BEG him (behind the scenes of course) not to announce the more Trump will want to do just that. Or, at the very least force the GOP to pay whatever legal fees it takes to get an actual team of accomplished litigators working for him in every case he’s fighting.

  2. If the margin in the house is in the low single digits I don’t think republicans will be able to elect a majority leader on their own. republicans are a split party. There will be some cray holdouts who will refuse to back McCarthy. That will mean republicans will have to reach across the isle to get the votes for speaker. That will mean consessions to democrats like maybe some speakerships.

    • I do not credit the magat ‘pubes in congress for pretty much anything but this much I pretty can say: when faced with the choice of Kevie or a Democrat for House Speaker, they are going to suck it up and take trump’s butt plug. Because if they don’t come together and the Democrats do stay on target, the Speakership will go to the person with the most votes and that could very well be a democrat should the ‘pubes split their vote.

    • That is one possibility. Another is that McCarthy would take the gavel but the Jim Jordan/MAGA contingency would effectively block him from getting anything done. And this is assuming that Gaetz is still there Boebert as well. I think we’re stuck with Greene but we might get lucky with Gaetz. Re: Boebert, I want her gone so bad I don’t know if I’m thinking through her race properly.

  3. I’ll go you one better, Ursula. In the spirit of breaking political physics, I propose the Dems may actually GAIN seats, much like the Republicans did in 2002. Times of crisis, many rules get temporarily suspended.


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